John Lennon has finally been forgiven for uttering the now-famous words, "We're more popular than Jesus Christ." According to Osservatore Romano, Vatican City's daily newspaper, it clearly must have been a joke, or just some cocky, British kid who didn't know how to deal with his new-found fame.
This 'forgiveness' comes 42 years after he said it, 38 years after the Beatles broke up and 28 years after John Lennon was assassinated outside of the Dakota in New York City by Mark David Chapman. To this day, the Beatles remain one of the most influential bands in pop music history. The Lennon-McCartney brand is still one of the most successful partnerships of all time and it certainly wasn't damaged at all by Lennon's statement.
According to many of the articles, the negative reaction came mostly from America's Bible Belt - there, they started burning photographs and albums - even the Ku Klux Klan got involved, some going so far as to say that the Beatles were the Anti-Christ and Communists.
A couple of weeks ago, our class focused on crisis communications for the week - you can't get much more of a crisis than to compare yourself to Jesus. And John Lennon did what anyone would do...he apologized. In a sense.
After his "apology", it all blew over and most of the world forgave John Lennon. Most, except for the Vatican, apparently. I don't mean to be disrespectful, but to be quite honest, I doubt John Lennon really cares whether or not he was forgiven. I don't think he asked for forgiveness. I spoke in an earlier post about the re-branding of the Church, and I can't help but wonder if this is a chance to prove that they are hip. It makes me wonder too, why every headline has the word 'forgive' in quotes. Is it just a theoretical forgiveness?